Page Hamilton rocks harder at 52 than you have in your entire life. (Photos by Karen Mandall | Erik Kabik Photography)
Saturday night was more or less perfect weather-wise, and one of the most interesting metal acts of the last 20 years was playing with a band that put out one of the best pure rock albums of the last 20 years.
So why in the hell weren’t more people there?
Helmet and The Toadies were doing a Soundwaves show at the Hard Rock pool and if there were more than 150 people there, we’d be shocked. Which is really too bad because it, along with The Reverend Horton Heat and Supersuckers, was one of the two best shows we’ve been to this year.
The Toadies ran out with “Happy Face” and “Push the Hand,” setting up a night that was about half Rubberneck and half off the other albums. They brought out Kyle Stevenson at the end to play the floor tom for a crushing version of “I Burn.”
After a half-hour set change where Helmet frontman Page Hamilton basically trolled the audience by playing almost exclusively instrumental jazz and crooner numbers over the PA, the band hit the stage and essentially bass-whipped us all with “Role Model.” Before anyone — including the guy at the Helmet show in a Helmet shirt wearing a helmet (just a little on the nose there) — could even recover from that, they launched into “Unsung” for the third track of the evening, which is a song that always makes us want to riot. Which is problematic when you’re chilling at a casino pool and there aren’t that many people there to form an angry mob with.
Hamilton loosened up and bantered with the audience as the evening wore on — questioning why anyone would live in Vegas before halfheartedly shouting out UNLV — until at the end of the show when he started taking requests. The band was going to do “I Know” and “Tic” but the Hard Rock put a hard cap of midnight on the show, lest the guests in the surrounding rooms be disturbed in their sleep. On a Saturday. At the Hard Rock. FFS.
At least they rocked the living fuck out of “In the Meantime” before packing it in.